Author Bio ▼

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, who has also contributed to numerous national business titles including Utility Week, the Municipal Journal, Environment Journal and consumer titles such as Classic Rock.
June 28, 2018

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Workplace Illness

TSB staff faced ‘sickness epidemic’ after IT crash

There was a ‘sickness epidemic’ caused by stress and customer abuse among TSB staff following the bank’s much-publicised IT meltdown in April, according to new documents published by a leading group of MPs.

The Treasury Select Committee has today (28 June) published a series of letters, including one from the General Secretary of the TBU trade union, Mark Brown, to the committee’s Chair Nicky Morgan, which claims TSB contact centres were “teetering on the brink of collapse” with staff working 12-hour shifts and “dealing with levels of customer abuse never seen before”.

TSB introduced a new IT system in April which caused up to 1.9 million customers to lose access to their online banking services, and unable to make transactions or see balances.

In his letter to Morgan, Brown described it as the “biggest IT disaster in British banking history”.

The Treasury Select Committee has also published a copy of recent newsletter to TBU members, which claims there was a “sickness epidemic” among staff in branches and call centres following the crash.

“There has been no HR engagement with staff since the IT meltdown began,” the newsletter states.

“Staff are at their wits end and many of them have simply reported in sick. We understand that in some areas of the business, sickness levels have increased by 25% since the IT meltdown began.”

In response, a TSB spokesperson said: “As we have said throughout, we would never have moved across to the new system if we didn’t believe we were ready. We are of course undertaking a full investigation.

“On 5 June, our letter to the Treasury Select Committee explained that from our internal investigations, it appears that the design of the platform itself is robust, but that the deployment onto the technical infrastructure has led to many of the problems we are experiencing.

“The coordination and testing of this was led by Sabis and its third party providers. TSB and Sabis are therefore now shifting the focus of the internal investigation of the root cause of the problems TSB experienced post-migration towards the testing regime in Sabis and its providers. Sabadell Group supports this course of action.”

The letters from Mark Brown to the Treasury Select Committee can be seen on the inquiry’s webpage.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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Nigel Evelyn-Dupree
Nigel Evelyn-Dupree
5 years ago

Too many hovering around the event horizon between presenteeism, just “carrying-on regardless” of at least a 20% plus loss in functionality prior to the manifestation of seriously debilitating repetitive stress injuries presenting in either an emotional meltdown and/or physical breakdown as crippling fatigue and ‘adaptation exhaustion’ enforces an escape from the workplace stressors, pressure and demands. Simple’sss, not rocket science or counter intuitive and carrying-on with an ethos of “don’t fix it until it is broken” clearly applied to their digital assets doesn’t work any better when applied to their organic human resources as business sustainability or continuity assets –… Read more »

Ian Malone
Ian Malone
5 years ago

Most people are happy to work , when work is simple and they need not apply themselves. Hit a problem and the whole world has to hear, then the blame game with nothing other than excuses and buck passing .
Those who are willing to try , to sort, help or apply effort are put out to be shot down by people who claim to be mangers?

What does manage mean!